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Book Review of "Confronting the Bully of OCD"
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Another Book Review of "Confronting the Bully Of OCD"
Get FREE OCD advice within the next 24 hours from OCD specialist, Doctor Steven
Brodsky, who is an OCD expert in NY and NJ. Email Dr. Brodsky or call (only NY, NJ, CT) 212-726-2390 with your confidential questions about MEDICATION-FREE
cognitive behavioral therapy for OCD obsessions, panic, and compulsions. Or make an appointment
Take the OCD TEST by clicking on "OCD SELF-TEST" (above left).
OF OCD (scroll down), find a therapist or OCD group, help a friend or relative:
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT OF OCD?
OCD is a very treatable condition
and, in many cases, medication might not be necessary. Hundreds of research studies agree that the best treatment for OCD
is a form of cognitive behavioral psychotherapy known as "exposure response-prevention" (ERP), which I practice.
ERP helps OCD sufferers overcome their fears and reduce their compulsive behaviors gradually, at a pace they're comfortable
with. While results are gradual, ERP does not require long term Traditional psychotherapy. Results occur in months not
years. ERP has been shown more effective in the long run (in terms of curing and preventing later relapses) than either medication
or other therapies.
WILL I NEED MEDICATION?
Medication helps many people reduce
their symptoms, but the symptoms bounce right back once you stop the meds. ERP, by contrast, provides OCD sufferers with a
skill or technique to "boss back" the OCD and reclaim their lives. This gives them a skill to prevent relapses.
The majority of my OCD clients, and I've seen many severe cases, benefit from therapy with no medication at all. And those
who are on meds, I wean off of them by the time ERP therapy is concluded.
Having said that, I have recommended
to some people to discuss with their psychiatrist the use of medication as a temporary measure if they are in an emergency
(potential job loss, divorce, absences from school) or if they are too severe to even engage in therapy, but I usually save
it as a last resort. I usually recommend to others that they start with the therapy first and see how far they can go without
meds. You can always add them later if needed. However, if you are on meds now, I would not drop them until your condition
has largely been stabilized by ERP, and I would only recommend discussing with your doctor weaning off them while you continue
with the ERP therapist for some months after, and eliminating any leftover symptoms the medication was masking .
There are at least a dozen medications used for OCD, such as "SSRIs," "Tricyclic Antidepressants,"
"Anxiolytic Benzodiazapines," and "Neuroleptics," who's names I'm not permitted to mention. This is not
an exhaustive list. Different things work for different people and it sometimes involves some trial and error before
the right medication is found for each individual. So if one medication doesn't work, don't give up on meds entirely.
Each person's chemistry is different, and usually there is some medication that will work for you.
CAN I FIND AN OCD THERAPIST?
I practice in Manhattan, New York City and I would be happy to offer
you a free phone consultation at 212-726-2390. If you're out of the NY area, you can also find a therapist in your area by
visiting the OCD Foundation web site (www.ocfoundation.org) and/or from the Association Of Behavioral & Cognitive Therapies (www.ABCT.org). The OCD Foundation is a link on my website home page in fact. Ask for an OCD specialist. Then call the ones they list and
interview them on the phone before you make an appointment. The person should be able to tell you they have treated SEVERAL
OCD clients FOR OCD (not just for depression, etc.).
THERE ARE 2 "TEST QUESTIONS" YOU MUST
ASK A THERAPIST before you make an appointment: 1) Is ERP their main technique? If not, don't make an appointment.
ERP is the only therapy endorsed by the OC Foundation.
2) How many people have they SUCCESSFULLY treated for OCD? By "successfully"
I mean that by the end of therapy, the person is not on any medication, and is almost if not completely free of obsessions,
compulsions, and excessive anxiety. They should be able to tell you they did this with at least a few dozen people if you
are in a major metropolitan area (NY, LA, Chicago, Boston) or at least several people in other areas or countries.
WHY DO SOME PEOPLE HESITATE TO SEEK TREATMENT?
On some level every OCD sufferer
knows something is wrong, but it's scary to accept it. Sometimes reading about OCD can help the sufferer realize they're not
alone, and that OCD isn't the worst thing, even though it may currently be interfering greatly in their life.
OCD sufferers arrive in my office after years, in some cases decades, of refusing to get treatment. The reasons they hesitated
differ with each individual. Some common reasons are they think they're the only one going through this. Some people don't
know OCD can be treated. It's a lot harder to seek help if you think it's untreatable. Many others think the therapist will
force them to face their worst fears (a false assumptom I might add), which is too intimidating to them. Others fear therapy
will actually make the problem worse. Some can't even leave their homes on time to go to an appointment, or can't leave home
at all, because of their elaborate compulsions or avoidant behaviors. Others are simply too embarrassed by their behavior
to share it with others (even though I've heard just about everything one could hear). Finally, many OCD sufferers worry that
they are "going crazy" and in very extreme cases can become very depressed, anxious or in extremely rare cases actually
hallucinate, and they might fear a therapist will tell them it's something worse than OCD, like schizophrenia, etc. (which
HOW CAN FAMILY AND FRIENDS HELP?
The most important advice
I can give to the family and friends of an OCD sufferer is to empathize with what the OCD sufferer is going through. Don't
let him feel blamed, he is a victim, as indeed the whole family is being victimized by OCD. It is OCD that is the enemy, not
person suffering with it. He cannot stop it himself. It is important for family and friends to unite with the sufferer against
the true enemy, OCD.
At the same time, family and friends should not accomodate the OCD. That would merely reinforce
the problem. It's not a problem for sufferer if everyone goes along with it. So while you shouldn't scold him, you also should
not perform these compulsive behaviors for him. Don't take care of chores he avoids, or allow yourself to be delayed for events
and appointments. You might have to leave for appointments without him and have him join you later (or not at all).
Most importantly, don't try to persuade an OCD sufferer that his worries are irrational. That will just make him worry more.
It's like telling someone not to think about a white elephant. It just makes them think about it more. I can't emphasize this
It may also help to let the sufferer know that OCD is highly treatable, and that it's not the worst thing.
It's a lot easier to accept they have OCD if they know it can be treated. The other good news is that it doesn't require long
term psychotherapy and might not require medication. Empasize that therapy is not scary and they will never be asked to do
anything they feel uncomfortable about. Finally, encourage the OCD sufferer to read some books about OCD and to view this
WHAT ARE SOME GOOD BOOKS OR MOVIES ABOUT OCD?
There are many
books about OCD. One that I recommend is "Confronting the Bully of OCD," by my former client, Linda Maran (see top
photo). It is one of the few books written by someone who actually HAD OCD, instead of by a professional. It is available
Two others that I recommend are:
When Once Is Not Enough (by Gail Steketee)
Obsessing (by Edna Foa)
The cable TV shows "Obsessed," "Hoarders," and "Monk" and
the movies, "The Aviator" and "As Good As It Gets," also depict the lives of OCD sufferers.
EMAIL DR. BRODSKY sjbrodsky(at)aol(dot)com for FREE advice within 24 hrs. from a specialist about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and therapy
(medication-free CBT) or call 212-726-2390
to learn about the drug-free cure for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Only Dr. Brodsky will ever read your questions. Or MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
now online. (This website and Dr. Brodsky's advice is for informational purposes only and is not, nor should it
be construed as, treatment or diagnosis.)